[Note:  see the section after the pictures of Cinque Terre for an update on the search for my Italian Stallion…)

Well, boys and girls, I went, I saw, I took pictures.  And it was worth every penny and every hour of insane Italian driving!  Cinque Terre is….it’s stunning, that’s what.  And though my legs and feet are still screaming for mercy (they were put through the hiking equivalent of a blender on high-speed), my brain and heart are happy, happy, happy.

I’m posting a handful of pics below…to whet your appetite!  For a more thorough slideshow of our time in Cinque Terra, click the following link…you don’t want to miss the gorgeousness of God’s handiwork!    I’ve added captions to all the pics so you’ll know what you’re looking at.

Or if your connection is slower, go to this:  (but the slideshow is so much better, because the pictures have a black background there, which REALLY sets off the colors!)

The view from our pensione window at night.  That’s the village of Pitelli in the distance.

The town of Lerici, in the Bay of Poets.  I’ve decided that this year’s poetry class HAS to take a field trip to this little town and just sit around all day either seeking out adventures (they’re everywhere!) or waxing romantic!  I thought of you ALL THE TIME!

The colors are stunning and the laundry hanging outside all the windows makes me smile.

Lerici’s harbor.

St. Terenzo’s skyline (we had pizza there for our first Italian supper!)

Our first view of Cinque Terre.  Can you spell G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S??

Stunningly clear water…seen from the cliffside walk named “The Way of Love” (Via del L’amore).  Paging Luigi!!  Paging Luigi!!!

The Cinque Terre village of Riomaggiore.  I love, love, love it!

Boarding our boat for a (cheap) 30-minute “mediterranean cruise” along the coast of Cinque Terre.  
Paging George Clooney at Lake Como (Switzerland) on our way home.  I waited at the dock where rich people arrive by pontoon plane, but he didn’t turn up.  You think he missed my email??


But I know it’s not the scenery you all are interested in, so I’ll cut right to the chase.  When you last read my xanga, I told you that I was hoping (please, God) to find, say, a stunning “Luigi” lurking in the colorful alleyways and perched walkways of Cinque Terre.  That hope was encouraged by my buddy Renee, who told me that she was praying that I would be (I quote) “flirted with, as is typical in Italy” during my three-day voyage to the land of hopeless romantics and obnoxious, greasy-haired loverboys.  I thought she’d prayed a really good prayer and endeavored to do my part to make it happen!  Just to refresh your memory, Luigi, when you last heard from me, looked a little like this in my mind:

Well, I looked
…  I looked and looked and on one particularly embarrassing occasion, I actually stood at the top of a tower and yelled, “Luigi!!  Come find me!!!!” at the top of my lungs, tossing my hair around my head like a Baywatch babe in the ocean breeze.  Not really.  But I did keep my eyes open and scanning as we wandered around Italy’s little Riviera (and Mari Ellen lent her eagle eyes to the task as well)…  It took until supper on day #2 to find a adequate Luigi stand-in.  He was our waiter that evening.  Tall, dark-haired, tan-skinned…and strikingly blue-eyed.  Quite gorgeous, really.  And quite disinterested in the wind-blown, sun-burned and blister-crippled tourists we were.  He was so uninterested that he simply quit waiting on us after a few minutes, which was actually a relief, as I’d been trying to improve my appearance by running my fingers through my hair for a while and had only succeeded in getting them so hopelessly tangled that they’d ended up stuck in the nest of wind-whipped messiness.

Waiter number two (after Luigi quit on us), was Guido.  He looked a little bit like this:

Now, granted, he’s a little bit farther down on the seduction scale from Luigi, but at least he acknowledged our presence in his restaurant and didn’t seem in the least surprised by the fact that Mari Ellen had to use the butter knife to cut my fingers out of the tangled hair I’d been so desperately trying to finger-comb minutes before.  I’m told it will grow back nicely and cover the bald patches in another month or two.  Guido was nice, in an “I’m an Italian waiter, so keep an eye on your purse” kind of way, but he wasn’t exactly enamored with either of us.  It was sadly mutual.

Then came…drum roll, please…BRUNO.  Bruno was the restaurant’s busboy.  He was also pushing 70-years old, balding and just a bit rotund.  He kept to himself until we were about to leave, then turned up at my side like a long lost friend with a big smile asking why we were leaving so soon, patting my shoulder, and trying to speak English (he failed).  He asked me if I was American and suggested that maybe I came from California (he must have caught my Baywatch routine earlier in the day), then he patted what remained of my hair and told me I had to have Italian ancestry, as my hair is so dark.  He clearly hadn’t noticed the 1,245,497 freckles that had erupted all over my face in the 10 hours we’d already spent in the sun that day…no real Italian sports the kind of terminal freckles I suffer from!  He gushed and smiled and spoke to us as if we understood him…….and I found myself sending Renee an ESP message that went something like this:  “Hey, Renee, I appreciate the prayers, but could you be a tad more SPECIFIC next time???  I’m not asking for a model or anything, but “moderately tall, generally dark and bordering on handsome” would be a definite plus over the “short, squat, bald and ELDERLY” your latest prayer produced!” 

I know you’re thinking I’m exaggerating, so I must support my story with a picture.  I won’t lie to you and say that it’s of Bruno, but it IS someone who comes close to capturing his poise and allure.  I caught him reading a magazine on the beach on our first evening in the Bay of Poets:

To tell you the truth, the trip didn’t need any Luigis, Guidos or Brunos to be memorable.  If you’ve never been to Cinque Terra, all I can say is that it’s worth the time, the effort and the expense.  Mari Ellen and I were blessed to find a fabulous and cheap “pensione” on the top of a hill just outside the village of Pitelli, and we were even more blessed by perfect weather and not one bad experience.  Sometimes it feels like God is too good to us, doesn’t it?  Particularly in light of what some others, even in the BFA community, are going through right now.  How conscious of our blessings we need to be…and how grateful we should feel for even the smallest fragments of happiness that come our way.  I’m constantly reminded of how undeserving I am and how truly fortunate I’ve been.  Cinque Terre only confirmed the notion.

Spring break is quickly coming to a close, and I can’t believe how quickly it’s flown.  But I’m rearin’ to go.  Students, I trust the last few days of break will allow you to fully decompress before you return to BFA for the end-of-year sprint.  Can’t wait to see you–I’ve missed you!



  1. Oooo, ooooo. . .ya think that when I’ve saved enough money and we go on vacation there, Bruno will tear his eyes away from your newly-sprouted locks and notice yours truly? My heart leaps at the thought.

  2. Love the picture of the waiter. Too funny.

    THANKS for going to Italy with me.

  3. so you finally got to fulfill Italy, which lies on the “death-list”!

  4. Ahh..it’s always the waiter, isn’t it?…haha…I’m glad you are had a fun trip there…the pictures are just like amAzing!!….Laurel =)

  5. it’s okay.

    when i first went to italy, my innocent 8 year old eyes were met with a luigi of my own.

    he was fat, to say the least, blind, balding, missing one leg past the knee and the other completely, screaming “aiuto per favore!” (help please) at the top of his lungs.

    all while i tried to keep down my spaghetti.

    the restaurant manager quickly apologized to us and went directly to the man, shooed him away, then returned to us wide eyed and smiling, a little shaky.

    then a lady came up and tried to sell us nude lighters where fire… nevermind.

    : ]

    all at the ripe young age of 8.

    hahahaha. All to say I’m glad your italian experience was a tid more enjoyable than mine.

  6. haha yes he’s quite a handful..got plenty more pics to show you of him! can’t wait to see you michele..sorry no lucky man was in italy

  7. Okay, I am seriously green with envy!!!  My prayer request must have been put in the wrong mailbox slot up there.  Oops!  I am so mad/ I mean glad, that you had such a lovely time!  Thank you soooo much for the BEAUTIFUL gift!!!!Someday…see ya tomorrow!  hugs, Renee

  8. you know what’s cool and not so cool at the same time??

    i miss you.


  9. Sure…Greece, Turkey…lots of warm spots out there just waiting for us and our cameras!! Are we on for supper tomorrow? (I know this is not the venue for that kind of question but I’m killing 2 birds with one stone!).

  10. thanks

  11. you are so hilarious!!! I loved reading this!! oh man. wow.

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